By Isabel Hayes & Brion Hoban
A man who raped and sexually assaulted a teenage girl who he had invited into an apartment in the middle of the night has been jailed for nine years.
The then 15-year-old girl went to sleep fully clothed in his then home, but woke up to find the 41-year-old man on top of her. He put his hand over her mouth when she screamed before raping her.
The complainant told the Central Criminal Court that the man “killed” her that night. She told the court that “I haven’t been alive since that night. I’m the walking dead.”
The man, who cannot be named to protect the anonymity of the victim, was found guilty by a jury of raping and sexually assaulting the girl at a Dublin apartment on August 21, 2017.
He was acquitted of one count of falsely imprisoning the girl following a trial last September.
He has one previous conviction for serious drug dealing. The Albanian native has been living in Ireland for a number of years and atone point resided in Co. Louth before moving to Dublin. He has been in custody since he was found guilty.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Paul McDermott said the offence was aggravated by the man bringing a child back to his home late at night when she needed a safe place to stay.
Justice McDermott said the man took advantage of her age and vulnerability. He said the man had breached the trust she placed in him.
He said the complainant has been deeply affected over the past four years and cannot escape from the memory of the events at this time. He said she is very young with most of her life still ahead of her and he hopes she will be able to recover.
The judge noted that the man has been deemed a low risk of reoffending due to his age and his lack of previous convictions for sexual offending. He said the man maintains his innocence and has no remorse.
Justice McDermott sentenced the man to nine years imprisonment. He said he was not satisfied that there was any basis offered for suspending any portion of the sentence.
When reading out her victim impact statement at a previous sentencing hearing, the complainant asked that the detective be allowed to stand beside her, between her and the man in the dock.
“He changed my life,” the now 19-year-old woman told the court. “He ruined me. He made me into something I never thought I would be.
“You killed me,” she continued. “I haven’t been alive since that night. I’m the walking dead.”
She said she lost motivation after the attack and couldn’t bring herself to care about herself or others. “I find it hard to trust any man because of you, a complete stranger,” she said.
She said she feels like she has lost any chance of happiness in life. “Here I am, four years later, ruined and broken,” she said. “I’ll never get those years back again.”